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Scotland launches plan to improve diabetes detection and care

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A new strategy to improve early detection and treatment of diabetes, which affects one in 20 people in Scotland, has been launched today by the Scottish Government.

The Diabetes Improvement Plan focuses on eight priorities, including prevention and early detection, better treatment for people with type 1 diabetes, and improved procedures for hospital inpatients.

The plan also focuses on equality of access to services, noting that diabetes disproportionately affects people from more deprived and ethnic backgrounds – making it a significant driver of health inequalities.

“I am determined that we continue to push forward in crucial areas like early diagnosis, good quality treatments and innovation”

Maureen Watt

Specific actions in the plan include action to identify people at the highest risk of developing diabetes, a national improvement programme to increase the number of people with type 1 diabetes who have good HbA1c control and action to improve patient experience.

Since the last Diabetes Action Plan was published in 2010 there have been some major improvements in diabetes care in Scotland, the government claimed.

Over the last three years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people with type 1 diabetes using an insulin pump, psychologists working across five health boards have trained more than 500 NHS staff since 2010 and a “world-leading” system for collecting diabetes data has been introduced.

In addition, the Scottish Diabetes Research Network, which supports six research nurses, has helped innovation by increasing the number of patient trials from 1,202 in 2009 to 3,667 last year.

Maureen Watt, minister for public health in Scotland, said: “The number of people being diagnosed with the condition has continued to rise – not just in Scotland but throughout the UK and beyond.

Scottish Government

Maureen Watt

“Diabetes is estimated to account for around 10% of the total NHS budget,” she said. “It is a priority for this government.

“This improvement plan builds on the excellent progress that has been made in Scotland. I am determined that we continue to push forward in crucial areas like early diagnosis, good quality treatments and innovation.”

Jane-Claire Judson, national director of Diabetes Scotland, welcomed the plan.

“We look forward to helping set the plan in motion and continuing our work to improve the lives of people living with diabetes,” she said.

“However, we would urge the Scottish Government to ensure that a more robust approach to patient engagement is utilised so the people most affected have a say in the care and support delivered,” she added.

The eight priority areas in the plan are:

  • Prevention and early detection of diabetes and its complications
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Person-centred care
  • Equality of access
  • Supporting and developing staff
  • Inpatient diabetes
  • Improving information
  • Innovation
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